Inquest to reopen into children’s fumes deaths on holiday island

Christianne and Robert Shepherd.
Christianne and Robert Shepherd.
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AN inquest into the deaths of two children from Wakefield who died while on holiday in Corfu is to be reopened.

Christi Shepherd and her brother Bobby, from Horbury, died in 2006 from fumes from a faulty boiler at their hotel on the Greek island.

An inquest is to open in Wakefield on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.

Christi, seven, and six-year-old Bobby went on holiday with their father Neil Shepherd and his partner, now wife, Ruth.

The adults were found unconscious in their hotel room but the children were pronounced dead at the scene.

After a post-mortem examination was carried out it was discovered that Christi and Bobby had died from carbon monoxide poisoning which had allegedly been caused by a faulty gas boiler in an outhouse next to their bungalow.

Lawyers for the family say lengthy legal proceedings took place in Corfu but the adequacy of the health and safety systems that Thomas Cook put in place were not examined.

The family hope that this will finally be explored at next week’s inquest.

The parents of Christi and Bobby are represented by Leeds-based firm Lester Morrill Solicitors.

In a statement, the parents said: “We do not expect that the coroner’s inquest will right the injustice of the criminal trial in Corfu but hope that finally we will, through our legal team, present the full facts surrounding Christi’s and Bobby’s deaths.”

In 2010 hotel manager Georgios Chrysikopoulos, head of the hotel technical department Petros Stoyiannos and hotel electrician Christos Louvros were each sentenced to seven years after being found guilty of manslaughter by negligence.

They tampered with a fume prevention device which was designed to prevent the build-up of lethal carbon monoxide.

Two Thomas Cook employees were also cleared of the same offences. The British tour operator was also cleared of responsibilty in relation to the deaths of the two children.

In 2014 West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff promised a “full and fearless” investigation into the tragedy.